We just participated in mass butchering of cattle. I came out in the afternoon, and all the blood and organs had been disappeared by earnest party workers. Yet a stench of death lingered in the air, thick and pungent. These rituals seem so bizarre. Such a clear cut case of vegetarianism. If you are squeamish about severed heads, then you are better off with greens.
I read the Booker prize winner for this year. Sense of an Ending, by Julian Barnes. It was a skinny book. 150 pages -- which is precisely why it won the prize over lengthier equals. Apparently, the judges have to read 140 books in a short timespan. Small books must be a delight The book is about English people and how embarrassed they are about being embarrassed, and non serious about serious matters. A cruel letter, a strange relationship, some algebra thrown in to explain the strange relationship, boyhood in the 50s, one awkward scene with a condom -- and how our memory is always from our own perspective, subjectively true, but not otherwise. Suicide is not always a philosophical act. Booker judges are in old age. They are done with the frenzy of 9-11. These light stories pretend they carry some deep message about the human condition and philosophy, but just about fail to. No hunger, no war, just nostalgia, politely strung together sentences, tight knit observations in a world of apolitical whiteness.
Of late, I have realized, I am surrounded by people I can not speak my mind to. I censor myself in subtle ways not because I want to fit in, but because I am tired of carrying the curse of being the freak in every situation, of relegating myself to talking to anyone who will have me.
People believe that it is their consumption that makes the economy grow; that they help the poor by buying. Buying creates jobs. Imagine if the rich paid fair wages. Everyone would have enough to buy. Everyone would be doing the buying. Not just an elite segment. Because the poor spend on the bare essentials -- food and shelter-- the elite must bear the burden of economic growth and prosperity and shop for everyone. Birkins, vacations, leather, fabric. They complacently spread toxins the world over while some dope sits on the floor of a contaminated tannery plucking skins on minimum wage. And not being able to buy even healthcare.
I feel like it is time for mutiny.
In the meanwhile, a woman in a Qayyumabad hospital died today after childbirth. There was possible negligence in her post surgical care. And now there is a motherless orphan in a lower income household. There is no legal recourse for the family against the service provider. The state will not provide assistance. The poor will absorb the cost. Private social enterprise can not save everyone despite launches at Sindh Club.
I feel for the young ones; some of them have already tasted the blood of money, and love their luxury. I hate the air of coldness around them. Some think of brands as warm cozy fun. They find a cause, and soon forget about it as their life consumes them.
They fight at school. Boys will only play with boys; Girls, girls. Assemblies teach conformity. My daughter got punched in the stomach because she said there are many gods. She proclaimed she hates pink. Another freak. I tell her, you must qualify and say Hindus believe in multiple Gods. Pink is not an ugly color. I do not want to micro manage her life in the schoolyard, but whats the point if you can not even make interventions.
How easy the world would be if you believed in God, the military, Imran Khan, and the innate logic of state violence. How lightly you would tread the world, bossing friends around, leaving big footprints, and believing that rules are divine, and so is the caste system.
How easy it would be to miss class -- the teacher is a feminist, a secularist, unfair to capitalists, nonobjective. Our narrow mindedness is state and corporate sponsored. A girl was expelled from college for removing an anti Ahmedi poster; she may get convicted of a blasphemy offence. In Egypt, a girl come under fire, by liberals and right wingers, for posing nude. She is not commodifying herself; her body is not corporate owned or the site for patriarchal violence. She is a non pornographic naked woman, and that unsettles us.
I spoke to my students in the language they best understand. I don't care that they do not need to read to learn. I told them I can get them the grade because I have the numbers.
Keep it simple and transactional.